Can I Help How I Feel?
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
“I feel like I’ve been through a terrible storm,” a woman said to me. A year ago she found out her husband had had an affair. He was truly repentant, and his actions through the year had proved his sincerity. They were both Christians. She loved him, and she wanted to restore the home for the sake of the children.
“That’s understandable,” I said. “So what did you do?”
“I started studying how the brain works. I figured if I knew the science, it might help me control my thoughts. I learned a lot about basal ganglia, and how the more often a thought goes through your mind the stronger it tends to get.”
“So the study suggested using meditation, actually sitting down and thinking about what I was thinking. They said set up a schedule. Deliberately set aside four times a day when you meditate. But that didn’t help, because all I could meditate on was on all those bad thoughts that kept going through my mind.”
“How did you solve that?”
“I realized I needed to meditate on the Word of God. It has so many wonderful truths to think about. Now, every day, four times a day, I take time out to listen to what I’m actually thinking, and then I ask God to help me shape my thoughts to what He wants. And you know what? The storm clouds aren’t so threatening now.”
“Isn’t that what God promised? That’s what Isaiah 23:6 says. ‘You, God, will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!’ ”
That dear woman may still have a hard road ahead. She has hurdles to overcome, disappointments to endure, scars to be healed. But, as God promised, she can have perfect peace because she’s fixing her thoughts on the God who loves her eternally.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians:4:8,9:
And now, dear friends, let me say one more thing as I close this letter:
Fix your thoughts
on what is true and honorable and right.
Think about things
that are pure and lovely and admirable.
Think about things
that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice
all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing,
and the God of peace will be with you.
When you think God’s thoughts, you experience God’s peace!
That dear woman came to me for counsel, but I think I learned more from her than she learned from me that day! I need to be consciously aware of what I am thinking, to bring my thoughts under God’s control. But four times a day? That seems a lot! Maybe so. But how much time does it take for a new and bitter thought to rise suddenly in my heart?
So I will cling to God’s promise: as I fix my thoughts on Him, He will give me His perfect peace!